FRANK R. KING, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Frank King '07

Date of birth: October 15, 1884

Date of death: July 12, 1919

Age: 34

Lucky Bag

From the 1907 Lucky Bag:


Biography & Loss

From Wikipedia:

Born in Montevallo, Alabama, King was appointed midshipman at the Naval Academy 6 May 1903 and graduated 11 February 1907. After serving as passed midshipman, he was commissioned Ensign 12 February 1909.

King served in Arkansas, USS Hartford, Milwaukee, Pennsylvania, and Illinois before attaining the rank of Commander 21 September 1918.

Comdr. King assumed command of the trawler Richard Buckley 7 July 1919 during minesweeping operations in the North Sea. On 12 July 1919 his ship struck a mine and went down in only seven minutes.

During the crisis King exerted himself to see that all of his crew might be saved. King's feeling for his men was evidenced by the fact that his final act before going down with his ship was to strap his own life preserver to a stunned sailor and help him over the side. Comdr. King received the Distinguished Service Medal for his valor.

Frank was survived by his wife and daughter (who was mistakenly offered an appointment to the Naval Academy many decades before women were allowed to attend).

He is not listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall.

Career

From Together We Served:

  • 1907-1909, Naval Sea Units
  • 1909-1911, USS Hartford (steam frigate)
  • 1911-1913, USS Arkansas (BB-33)
  • 1913-1915, USS Milwaukee (C-21)
  • 1915-1917, USS Illinois (BB-7)
  • 1917-1918, USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)

Navy Distinguished Service Medal

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (Posthumously) to Commander Frank Ragan King, United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility as Commander of a Division of trawlers, engaged in the difficult and hazardous operation of sweeping for and removing mines in the North Sea Barrage; and especially for his heroic conduct on the occasion of the destruction by mine explosion of his flagship, the U.S.S. RICHARD BULKLEY, of which he was also the Commanding Officer. Although stunned by the explosion, he made every effort to save the lives and to rescue men entrapped by steam in the fireroom. The rapid sinking of the vessel prevented his success in the undertaking. Finding the ship about to sink he proceeded to bridge, where he took his station, and went down with the ship.

General Orders: Authority: Navy Book of Distinguished Service (Stringer)
Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. Richard Bulkley

Namesake

USS King (DD 242) was named for Frank; the ship was sponsored by his widow, Allene.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

July 1907

Midshipman, Milwaukee

January 1908

Midshipman, Milwaukee

January 1909

Midshipman, Pennsylvania

January 1910

Ensign, Princeton

January 1911

Ensign, Pennsylvania

January 1912

Ensign, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: LT Fred Perkins '06.

January 1913

Lieutenant (j.g.), Oregon

Others at this command: ENS James Logan '10.

January 1914

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Academy

Others at this command: LT Robert Cabaniss '06.

January 1915

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Wyoming

January 1916

Lieutenant, USS Wyoming

January 1917

Lieutenant, USS Wyoming

March 1918

Lieutenant Commander, USS Henderson

January 1919

Commander, USS Arizona


Class of 1907

Frank is one of 13 members of the Class of 1907 on Virtual Memorial Hall.